Assignments: Spring 2020

  • 15% Participation (Attendance online and in person, Canvas postings, extra credit, and quizzes)
  • 25% Exams (10% Exam 1; 15% Exam 2)
    Exams will ask you to synthesize major points regarding modern drama and its related literary traditions. The exams will require you to demonstrate your knowledge of plays and artistic movements by identifying and discussing specific passages in short essays, defining key terms, and identifying major thematic connections among works.
  • 10% Class Scene Performance, with source(s) (3-4 pages; 750-1000 words) 
    1. Pick a 2-3 minute scene from the play we are reading for the week and read it aloud slowly, considering how it demonstrates character or theme. Need more people to read your scene with you? Sign up to read as a group of 2-3 people. Stage directions may count as a “character” to be read.
    2. Locate a newspaper review or other media ephemera surrounding a specific performance of the play we are reading on your presentation day and read it with an eye to how it might illuminate your scene
    3. Post the review in pdf or html link on Canvas before class the session BEFORE you present so that everyone can read the review.
    4. Open our discussion of the play by reading the scene, then describe how your review reflects how one performance was received by critics. Die a little inside thinking of reading the scene aloud to us? You may show a link of the scene on YouTube or another video site.
    5. Write a 3-4 page reflection on your scene reading, using the review as a point of context for the elements of character or theme you saw in this scene.
    1 written source plus play minimum; 2 maximum. Be sure to format Works Cited page correctly, using MLA format for play in an anthology and/or critical article found in online database (or website…library database preferred).

Inquiry Assignments–Graded as Complete/Incomplete
15 % Project Proposal and Annotated Bibliography (Due in draft and revision; 500-750 words, plus 5-6 sources, annotated in around 75 words)
This assignment sets up and describes your ideas for your final project, and lists sources you have reviewed in support of this project. Read below for details and potential topics for the Final Project
Annotated Bibliography Tips Webpage; OWL MLA 8th Edition
Sample Proposal/Annotated Bibliography from a Graduate Course (more extensive proposal and annotations than are required for your course).

20% Final Project Essay (5-7 page research essay)
Students will revise an idea from a discussion board posting or your short analysis paper as a starting point for the final project.

15% Self-assessment essay or presentation of Final Project A 500 word minimum self-assessment of your writing/research/creative process, reacting to and incorporating comments from your instructor and peers, is included as part of the final project. Reflect on the nightmare that has become the semester and how remote work affected you. Feel free to work in prayer, curses, or whatever best captures your research and writing process. 1 page written or equivalent in 2 minutes audio/video reflection.

You have 3 options for fulfilling the final project:
1.) Use a critical article from class to analyze a play we’ve read, adding 2-4 additional sources for further understanding and critical context.  Includes a works cited page of critical sources (3 minimum) and self-reflection.

2.) Analyze a specific performance by reading newspaper reviews or other media ephemera regarding this performance and tell us how this one adaptation emphasized key aesthetic and political themes of its era (expanded performance analysis).  Includes a works cited page of critical sources (3 minimum) and self-reflection.

3.) Take a single scene of a play and adapt a 5 minute performance of it live or via media (sound, film, digital recording). Analyze your adaptation’s values relative to at least 1 earlier adaptation and use at least 3 critical sources to discuss your strategies for conveying the meaning of this scene and creating impact on your audience.  Create a handout or visual support for your post-performance discussion that includes a works cited page of critical sources (3 minimum) and self-reflection.

No matter which of the 3 approaches you choose, this final project should rely on secondary source research as well as primary resources. Use the online bibliography and web links from the course website as a starting point.  

Topic Ideas (not a comprehensive list, just some ideas):
-Design of costume in a specific production of Glass Menagerie or Endgame to reflect character development
-Creation of new dramatic form in Anna Deavere Smith’s Fires in the Mirror
-Women, violence, and body image in Trifles or Funnyhouse
-Reception of profanity and race by reviewers in Emperor Jones or Dutchman
-Specific audience reactions in media to initial staging of Endgame or Funnyhouse
Goals for using expressionist lighting in Emperor Jones or Funnyhouse, Glass Menagerie, or Angels in America as outlined in interviews with authors.
-Study of a single scene adaptation into film in HBO Angels in America or American Playhouse Fires in the Mirror
-How Zola’s concept of Naturalism influences realistic depictions of American experience in Trifles, Fires in the Mirror or Angels in America
-The effects of ensemble casting  in Angels or Glass Menagerie
-The impact a specific moment in history (the Spanish Civil war, apartheid policies, the Crown Heights riot, the AIDS epidemic) on stage in a play, such as  The Glass Menagerie, Fires in the Mirror, Angels in America

Creative projects: Set up and show a clip of or perform live a 5 minute scene, then lead a 5 minute discussion of your scene. You have more freedom in terms of your format for presentation (Ex: show Vimeo clip, then discuss goals and reactions: demonstrate website and play audio clip of your reading; set up live performance, then act out a scene). You will still need a handout or slide of sources used–a bibliography.

Want to add to your grade? Deliver your final presentation to me on Zoom:  5 minutes, 5-7 google or PPT slides, May 5 during class time.